Derrick Rose won 62 games and reached the Eastern Conference finals with the Bulls during the 2010-11 season, but the former NBA MVP believes this Knicks team has a chance to be better.
“I think it’s the most talented team I’ve played on, even though I haven’t played with them yet — just looking at the stat sheet, working out with them,” Rose said in a recent interview with the National Basketball Players Association website. “So my job is to come in and get everybody going, then have my spot where I can try to dominate the game.”
Team president Phil Jackson overhauled the Knicks’ roster this summer. He acquired Rose in a trade with the Bulls, and signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings to put alongside returning cornerstone players Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in hopes of ending the Knicks’ three-year playoff drought.
Those moves have led to Rose touting the Knicks every chance he’s gotten. The three-time All-Star point guard called them a “super team” and said they had “a chance to win every game” earlier this summer.
But key factors to the Knicks’ success will be whether they can stay healthy and how quickly they can develop chemistry, particularly with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Rose with training camp opening a week from Tuesday.
Rose could miss multiple practices and preseason games because of his civil rape trial that is scheduled to begin Oct. 4. That’s the day of the Knicks’ first exhibition game in Houston.
Rose, however, seems focused on basketball and proving he can return to being an elite point guard after injuries and knee surgeries have limited him the past five years.
He has worked out this summer with Noah, his former Bulls teammate, and Lee. Earlier this month, Rose was one of several Knicks to train with Anthony during his annual “A Very Melo Weekend” event in Puerto Rico. Rose mentioned that Bulls never did anything like that.
“We never hung out together,” he said. “We just showed up at training camp, like a couple days before. It’s just about pushing each other, being able to talk trash to one another while you’re working out. It’s that bond. That’s what we’re trying to build at least working out together, trying something different.
“Last year or eight years straight, we did the same thing and it didn’t get us any championship. But now we’re trying different things and staying positive and pushing each other.”
Rose also said he’s felt more “love” from New York fans in a short time than he did in his home town of Chicago, and it has him even more excited for the season to start.
“You feel that a little bit in Chicago, but it’s not on that level of New York, so it kind of makes you anxious to actually get on the court,” Rose said. “It’s, like, ‘Man, they’re excited that I’m actually there.’ I haven’t even picked up a ball yet, I haven’t made a basket yet, and I can only imagine how they’re going to act when we start winning.
“It’s a basketball culture there that’s missing. Our job is to bring that excitement back to the city. And it’s different playing there than actually being on the team, like the crowd there oohs and aahs for the little moves that you do when you’re on the opposing team. But when you’re on their team, they ooh and aah with everything. So I’m waiting for that excitement and just trying to be patient for it, because it’s going to be an exciting year I think for the whole city.”